The use of cement in Richard Ducker’s most recent sculptures emphasises a kind
of death, or a modernist monumentality, but the objects it coats and with which it is
juxtaposed evoke nostalgia, myths soaked in dreams, and fairy tales gone wrong. If
a domestic interior is evoked, it is one in which homely things have sprouted
aggressive appendages, grown unexpected textures, or multiplied into viral
aggregates, as if to embody the nightmares that commodity fetishes might dream of
if they fell asleep. Like Proust’s madeleine dipped in tea, they evoke memories and
sensations according to a logic that combines cultural association with
phenomenological fantasies of sensual experiences, often clashing within the same
piece. In
Death Star (and Baby), for example, the familiar shape of plastic bottles is
made strange by a coating of intensely black flock, at once attractive and repellent
in its soot-like impurity, contrasting the smooth sensation of drinking ‘spring water’,
with the gagging artificiality of spray-flock; we are reminded with a jolt how toxic our
obsession with purity and cleanliness really is. Lots of fluids seem to run through the
work: sucked in by a fur-lined, mouth-like creature with the energy of a crack addict;
apparently running between a suitcase – travel, escape and refreshing holidays –
and a concrete block that seems to be feeding off (or to?) a tree that might have
been killed or perhaps re-energised by artistic usage... Sculptural processes have
become the magic instruments of a post-Freudian fairy-tale, in which life and death,
pleasure and pain, nourishment and poison have become entangled in an exchange
that could lead to deadly battle, intense pleasure, or remain a secret.

Emotionally evocative without ever telling a clear story, affecting without being
obvious, Ducker’s sculptures seem to be there with the mute theatricality of
minimalism, yet to engage with notions of transformation. With simple formal
means, they excavate fears, anxieties and desires associated with the most
visceral of physical sensations – attraction and repulsion, pleasure and pain, need
and self-sufficiency. The work keeps referring back to the body, a missing body we
as viewers cannot help but imagine filling-in for with our own, transforming it into the
ill-fitting piece of a jigsaw we are trying in vain to complete with our presence.

                                 -- Patrizia Di Bello, 2007


Goldsmiths College, University of London, M.A. Fine Art
Reading University, B.A. Fine Art

Selected Exhibitions:

2010       Oblong Gallery, London, ‘Null and Void’ (solo)
2009       Standpoint Gallery, London, ‘Cooler Warmer’
2009       James Taylor Gallery, ‘Dumbwaiter’
2009       Schwartz Gallery, London,  ‘Saxon’
2009       Biscuit Factory, London,  ‘Big Deal’
2009       C22, London,  ‘Botox 69’
2009       Dumb Waiter, London,  ‘James Taylor Gallery’
2009       Oblong Gallery, London,  ‘First’
2009       Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, Forthcoming
2009       The Crypt, St Pancras, London, Space Between
2009       V22,  The Sculpture Show
2008       Flora Fairburn Projects, London, ‘Heart of Glass’
2008       Schwartz Gallery, London,  ‘Traces’
2008       Wharf rd Project, London,  ‘Fluid Foundations’
2008       Gone Tomorrow, London, ‘Words Fail Me’ (solo)
2008       Bearspace, London, ‘Wastestate’
2008       Katherine E Nash Gallery, Minnesota, USA, ‘Enchanted’
2008       Fieldgate Gallery, London,  Matt Franks, Sheena Macrae, Richard Ducker
2007       Gone Tomorrow Gallery, London,  ‘Dirty Turkey’
2007       Fieldgate Gallery, London, ‘Intervention’
2006       Studio 1.1, London,  ‘Grotto’
2006        Fieldgate Gallery,  London,  ‘Houses in Motion’
2006        SevenSeven Gallery, London, ‘No–ship’
2006        SevenSeven Gallery,  London,  ‘MCTwo’
2005        Flowers Central,  London,  ‘Small is Beautiful’
2005        The Crypt, St. Pancras,  London,  ‘Memoire Collective’
2005        Cell Project Space,  London,  ‘Hard Labour’
2004        21 New Fetter La,  London,  ‘Sonya’s Office’
2002        The Yard Gallery,  Nottingham,  ‘Growth & Form’
2001        The Kitchen,  New York,  ‘Art for Plot’
2001        TWO10  Gallery,  London,  Wellcome Trust
2000        Royal Academy,  Edinburgh,  SSA 2000    
2000        Mappin Gallery,  Sheffield,  ‘New Art 2000’
1998        Cable Street Gallery,  London,  ‘Store’ (solo)
1997        Commercial Too,  London,  ‘WheNever’
1996        Commercial Too,  London,  ‘Nicepace’
1994        Shad Thames,  London,  ‘Inflation Saints’
1993        ICA,  London,  ‘Art for Equality’
1993        Clove Gallery,  London,  ‘Contingent’
1992        Kettles Yard,  Cambridge,  ‘Face Values’
1992        Serpentine Gallery,  London,  Barclays Young Artist Award

Artwork in private collections in Britain, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Australia and